From gathering and hunting
Antique Roman intaglio of a hunter in a silver ring of the 16th century
In 1550, the famous Italian artist biographer Giorgio Vasari first used the term "Renaissance", meaning rebirth. By this he meant the revival of the ancient world of ideas and art, i.e. the period that seemed to him to be the most brilliant of all the ages of mankind. Artists, architects and writers at that time made sufficient reference to antiquity, especially to Rome; for Italy was an important centre of artistic creation at that time, and Italian artists were often summoned from afar to the European courts. So it is not surprising that in the present ring of the 16th century an intaglio was chosen as a setting, which is far older than the ring itself: It is an antique gem from the Roman imperial period. Cut in orange carnelian, it depicts a hunter sitting on a rock and holding up the hunted game. Stylistically, it can be dated to the 2nd/3rd century AD, cf. for example Erika Zwierlein-Diehl: Antike Gemmen und ihr Nachleben, Berlin/New York 2007, fig. 669b or 703. In the Renaissance, antique intaglios were precious collectors' items, worn in rings or as pendants, or even kept in the Kunstkammer. However, the gem in the present ring was not only interesting because of its collector's value at the time it was made; it also had cultural relevance, since hunting culture was an important part of courtly life. Precious wardrobes were made specifically for hunting, and our ring too will once have belonged to a nobleman who not only collected antiquities but also liked to hunt - two passions that have a lot in common. The silver ring was probably made in Western Europe in the second half of the 16th century. It presents the intaglio in the middle of a narrow border line in an otherwise plain, rounded band. Especially considering its age, the historical piece of jewellery is well preserved, so that we are pleased to be able to present such a rare, wearable find to you here. For ring type and dating, see Gerald Taylor/Diana Scarisbrick: Finger Rings from Ancient Egypt to the Present Day, Oxford 1978, p. 27, no. 52 as well as Heinz Battke: Geschichte des Ringes, Baden-Baden 1953, cat. No. 76 and 78.
To possess antique cameos and gems was the claim of almost all great collections for centuries: We find spectacular pieces as well in the Green Vault in Dresden, in the treasury of Rudolf II, up to the great private collections like that of Baron Stosch in later times. The 18th and 19th centuries produced numerous large imprint collections of antique seal stones and gems, which represent the antique imagery of glyptic almost in its entirety. Thus they were not least an expression of a humanistic education. Of particular importance for the transmission of stone and shell carvings north of the Alps have always been travellers to Italy, who brought home impressions and carved stones as well as engraved shells from their educational journeys in order to enjoy the stories that the shells could tell. The art of gem cutting has survived to this day in Italy, especially in the Bay of Naples, where it has been passed down from generation to generation. Today, the Scuola dei Cammei in Torre del Greco is the only professional training centre in the world for gem-cutters, although unfortunately the mythological theme has almost been lost as a subject.
We want you to be 100% satisfied! For that reason, we examine, describe and photograph all of our jewellery with the utmost care.
You can rely on our years of experience in the trade and our expertise as a professional art historians for reviews of the antique jewellery. As a member of various trader organisations and the British Society of Jewellery Historians, we remain committed to the highest possible degree of accuracy. In our descriptions, we always also indicate any signs of age and defects and never hide them in our photos – this saves you from any unpleasant surprises when your package arrives.
Should you for some reason not be satisfied, please don’t hesitate to contact us so that we can begin to find a solution together. In any case, you can return any article within 30 days and we will refund the full purchase price.
We want you to be 100% satisfied! That’s why we examine, describe and photograph all our jewellery with the utmost care.
If for any reason you are still not satisfied, contact us and we will find a mutual solution immediately. Regardless, you can return any item within 30 days and we will refund you the full purchase price.